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  Reviews by: unsharpmask  

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Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

Review Date: Mar 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent build quality, fast focusing, incredible zoom range.
Heavy, push-pull design hard to get used to.

I have rented this lens in the past and was very impressed with it. When I saw a minty example for 1,400 USD I bought it without hesitation. I have other lenses like the 24-105, and the 70-200 plus great primes like the 300mm f2.8 lens, but sometimes you just need on zoom that covers everything. Its a lens intended for good light or at least a good strobe. Use this lens at f8 and you won't be disappointed. I can see using this lens with a cropped sensor body like my 30D for shooting sports like golf, NASCAR or track and field. I'll use it to cover Hollywood events like the Oscars with my 1D mk2 1.3x crop camera when I need to take a bunch of photos at different focal lengths very quickly without changing lenses or bodies. At a lot of sporting events you shoot from a fixed spot and this lens will fit the bill perfectly. I wish this had a separate zoom ring instead of the push-pull design. I guess that's not physically possible with the incredible zooming range. I wouldn't say it really replaces any lens and its not my first choice to use, it's more of a luxury item that works great and will pay for itself when needed. It's got everything that Canon is known for: IS, weather sealing, and ultra-sonic fast focusing. It's plenty sharp for magazine work.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Dec 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Wide range, good construction, IS and quick focusing.
Could be sharper at wide-angle in the corners with full-frame camera.

I bought this lens for my 5d. A solid lens but I wish it was sharper on the wide end, the 5d is a very demanding camera on lenses. I've used the bigger 28-70mm 2.8 lenses and hated them because of their size and construction. I need the extra length of the 105mm and this is a perfect lens for environmental portraits with lighting where I don't have to change lenses. For available light, I put on either the 16-35 2.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.8 or 70-200 2.8 lenses.

Canon EOS 5D

Review Date: Dec 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Full frame sensor, image quality, build quality, price.
Uses 20d-30d controls instead of 1 series. 1/200th sync speed.

I bought the 5d at and with rebates and double discounts, it was under 2,000 USD including tax. That's an incredible value for a full-frame digital camera with 12.8 mega-pixels.

I have a 20d, a 30d and a 1d mk2, and the images are outstanding on the 5d. The biggest plus is that my lenses truly work like they were designed for with the full-frame sensor. The problem with all cropped sensor cameras is that you never get a really wide-angle view without using a lens that distorts and your telephoto images don't have the same bokeh.

This is the first digital camera that feels like a film camera and produces images that are truly film-like.

The only difference between the 5d and its big brother, the 1ds mk2, is weather sealing, faster frame rates, 3 more mega-pixels and an integrated battery grip. And you have pay four grand more for those features.

I think most photographers will have a 1d series camera with the 5d and unfortunately the controls on the 5d are from the prosumer cameras, so there is a small learning curve if you're mixing the two.

Even if Canon comes out with a replacement within a year, I don't see the 5d becoming obsolete anytime soon as any improvements will be incremental, no revolutionary. Image quality is good enough for any publication. The only real thing I need is a fast sync speed, 1/200th is not fast enough, and if Canon ever comes out with 1/500th or higher sync speed, a lot of pros will be upgrading.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Review Date: Jan 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, good range, has IS, good build quality, versatile
not sharp on the wide end, pricey

This lens is way underrated! Its small and compact and does the job. I have used every Canon lens from 16-35 L to 600 L and this lens is surprisingly good.

I use this lens for portraits on location with strobes and shoot mostly in the f8-f16 range of my lights. At that f-stop the lens is pretty sharp from about 24mm to 85mm. Yes this lens has some problems at the 17mm range in the corners and I would try to stay away from using it wide open.

But if I am shooting a portrait, this is the go-to lens. Subjects hate when you stop shooting to change lenses and with this lens you don't have to.

I have a wide range of lens in my bag, but Canon hasn't really made a nice compact zoom lens in this range that does the job. The 24-70 L is okay but its super clunky. The new 24-105 L sounds nice, but it costs around 1400 USD.

My 20D, this lens and a set of battery operated strobes with pocketwizards and I'm good to go for any magazine cover shoot. Yeah, I know, it doesn't exactly exude professional equipment, and kinda of embarassing when your client has the same stuff, but who cares? I can always haul out the 1D mkII and some L glass, but this works better.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, sharp, IS, weather sealing, focus presets
Pricey, tripod collar could be better

The IS version of the lens is a major upgrade from previous versions of this lens. My only problem with this lens is the way they designed the tripod collar from the old version, not smooth, the lens strap eyelets are in the way, and if your holding a monopod with the lens, the collar can come off if not tightened. You can easily drop the lens if your not careful with the collar.

The IS is great, especially if you use the 1.4x or 2.0x teleconverters as they well save you if you have to use slower shutter speeds because of loss of light.

The real magic of this lens is the focus pre-sets. The knurled collar on the lens gives you a precise focus pre-set, a must for many sports, especially baseball, basketball or hockey.

I like the weather sealing and the lens hood is pretty good.

I use this lens about 90% of the time at f 2.8. It's the reason I bought this lens, and it's razor sharp wide open.

I would rate this lens a 10 just on optics, but a few of the user design elements could be better. On the side of the lens there is a phlanx of buttons and switches, that unfortunately can be accidently moved easily. Some gaffer tape is a must to taped down your settings, I hope in the next generation of this lens, a few things could be fixed.